The wildlife overpass at Utah has been one of the major tourist attractions for animals. Yes, you heard that right. This bridge is all that is being talked about in the animal kingdom. Utah’s Department of Transportation completed it in 2018. Interesting video footage also displays quite a few animals using this wildlife overpass to cross lanes safely. According to reports from CNN, animals have been using it especially in areas with six traffic lanes.
What is this Wildlife Overpass?
This wildlife overpass is about 320 feet in length and 50 feet in width with a unique geographical location. According to the geographical journal Atlantis Obscura, the location of the overpass was selected keeping the migratory patterns of animals in mind. Interestingly, most experts thought that it would take the animals quite a few years to get acclimatized to the new overpass.
John Gleason, the UDOT spokesman, also mentioned this in his speech about the infrastructure back in 2018. But video footage from cameras placed strategically along the guardrail of the bridge show animals using it frequently. And these aren’t just moose, deer, or elk- several other animals have been using it with increasing frequency.
No wonder that the state of Utah has decided to launch an investigation on the bridge to understand how it is having improved the safety of animals. And what’s more surprising is that this has been made possible in just three years of the bridge’s inauguration.
How Has The Overpass Helped The Wildlife in Utah?
One of the videos of the wildlife overpass posted on Facebook had quite an interesting story to it. This video dated the 19th of November showed deer, moose, and elk confidently trotting across the bridge without fear. In yet another video, a viewer could see several black bears wandering through the pathway. Another video showed a small bobcat carrying its food in its mouth while crossing the bridge.
The logs and boulders placed strategically along the path has allowed animals to use it to their comfort, whilst blending the entire artificial ecosystem into a natural one. It should come as no surprise that the animals do use the logs to help themselves.
Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has spoken about this achievement of the wildlife overpass in just two years. In a caption to one of the videos, they spoke about how the overpass was successful in helping animals cross Interstate 80 safely. They also mentioned how it would serve motorists well if the overpass continued to channel the animal traffic through some other route.
The reduction of accidents after the construction of the wildlife overpass shows its success. Before 2018, close to 106 collisions were recorded between animals and vehicles. And the casualties ranged from 98 deer to two raccoons, a couple of elks, three moose, and a cougar. This massive number led the NGO Save People Save Wildlife to name Interstate 80 the ‘Slaughter Row’. This wildlife overpass was then constructed by the UDOT- as a part of a much larger project. The other parts of the project saw the addition of a truck lane and several asphalt lines.
Image credit: Utah Department of Transportation